Russian Parliament Proposes Ban in Retaliation for the Magnitsky Act
As of December 19, 2012, legislation was brought before the Russian Parliament to ban intercountry adoptions from the United States. This amendment to the Dima Yakovlev List was proposed as retaliation to the US passage of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, which imposes sanctions against Russian officials perceived by the US to be guilty of human rights violations.
This amendment has passed in the lower house of the Duma and it is expected that it will pass in the upper house on Friday. If passed, President Putin would have to sign the legislation before it could become official. While it is unclear whether he will do so, President Putin, while displeased with the Magnitsky Law, promised an “adequate and not excessive” response. If the bill does pass and is signed into law, it will nullify the pre-existing bi-lateral agreement that went into effect on November 1, 2012. The bi-lateral agreement resulted from years of discussion between the two countries and addressed reforms to and increased accountability within the intercountry adoption process.
Joint Council urges all parties to consider the facts of the situation and to put the needs and best interest of each child as the primary consideration. Knowing that living in a nurturing safe and permanent family is critical to the development of every child, the elimination of intercountry adoption as a means of moving children into families denies children their fundamental right and perpetuates their suffering. With over 88,000 Russian children registered as orphans in 2011 alone, every option including intercountry adoption, must be used to ensure the safety, health and rights of these children.
While we cannot speak to all of our efforts, Joint Council has been actively involved in the situation and will continue to engage in collaborative efforts with and through US and Russian government officials, the Department of State, Congressional offices, Joint Council Partners, NGOs and advocates in both countries until a positive resolution is made. We will provide updates on this situation as they become available.